Libraries ‘to help or not to help’ with My Vaccine Passes

When the My Vaccine Pass was released a few weeks ago it was inspiring to hear how libraries had responded so quickly to help their communities get access to their passes – after all, how many people have the digital confidence to:

(1) Have a unique email address (not one shared with a partner);

(2) Set up a My Health account;

(3) Access emails on their smartphones;

(4) Add their Vaccine Pass to Apple Wallet or Google Pay;

(5) Own a printer and laminator to print a copy.

For our part, Sue Kini pulled out the stops and produced a new Stepping UP module for My Health & My Vaccine Pass.

It was quickly evident that the Government’s backup plan to use the special 0800 number for people without digital access to request a Vaccine Pass was not going to work, with 70,000 requests backlogged. I was so disappointed with the negative stories emerging that I sent a letter to the editor of the Dominion Post on 26 November pointing out how public libraries (as the biggest ‘helpdesk’ in the country) could help.

And then the bombshell on 2 December to learn that some Councils had ruled that only people who could show their Vaccine Passes were permitted access to their libraries and other public facilities. A sort of catch-22; how could libraries help people get their passes if they had to have one to enter? Well done Clutha District Council, Waitaki District Council, Timaru District Council, Waimate District Council, Marlborough District Council, Upper Hutt City Council, South Taranaki District Council and Whanganui District Council, to name just a few who ruled in favour of remaining open to everyone, so that people could get the help they needed to get their passes.

But we still have a lot of work to do; at the time the new traffic light system came into effect on 3 December over 800,000 people who were fully vaccinated had not downloaded their Vaccine Passes.

We strongly encourage all our Stepping UP partners to provide ongoing support to help everyone in their communities get access to their Vaccine Pass and be able to enjoy the new freedoms that come with the Covid traffic light system.

Author: Laurence Zwimpfer

I am committed to supporting the development of New Zealand as a digitally included nation, where everyone has equitable opportunities to benefit from the digital world.

9 thoughts on “Libraries ‘to help or not to help’ with My Vaccine Passes”

  1. Great post Laurence, Yes I have helped quite a few non savvy residents here in Longlands. Must admit the process is rather daunting for most elderlies that only use their phones for calls and texts. I found the process that you guys circulated last week very helpful for some people to use on their own, with success.

    Regards Keith Girvan

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laurence,
    You’ll be glad to know that not all libraries have adopted this stance and at last count Masterton library had procured, printed and laminated over 600 vaccine passes for our residents.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Laurence and Sue’s instructions were fabulous. Of note, Whanganui Council have decided to only accept passports now and they are referring all requests to us as we are open to everyone


  4. Hi Lawrence, Auckland Libraries requires people entering our buildings to display their Covid Pass. Onehunga Library as part of Auckland Libraries continues to provide a high level of assistance to all. We help people who don’t wish to come in, and those who have not yet got their Covid Pass, by serving them at a Click & Collect desk.

    Liked by 1 person

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